Five things about basic income

Mayors Naheed Nenshi, Mike Savage, and Don Iveson.Roderick Benns

Hearing a lot about basic income lately? Here are five things you might not have known about this emerging social policy idea. 

We do it already…for seniors and families. 

While it might be hard to imagine now, the majority of Canadians used to face great hardship in their senior years.

Fortunately, by the 1970s a number of public policies turned that situation around dramatically. This included Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), both forms of basic income that are not based on employment.

The way OAS works, everyone who has lived in Canada long enough can get it when they turn 65. It provides the same amount to everyone, except for those with higher incomes. In that case, it is taxed back based on relative need. For seniors who have little extra income, the GIS is added to that – what we call a refundable tax credit.

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Two basic income books reviewed

Foreign Affairs Magazine

Is the world—or at least some countriesready for a basic income? These two books argue strongly in the affirmative. Such a policy involves the government providing cash grants to every member of society at a level that could sustain life: an amount equal to one-quarter of GDP per capita would suffice, suggest Van Parijs and Vanderborght.

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'Working poor’ in need of homeless shelter, but basic income could help

Roderick Benns

At Lindsay’s homeless shelter, more people are driving themselves to get there these days.

That’s not a good sign according to Lorrie Polito, the executive director of ‘A Place Called Home,’ Lindsay’s 19-bed shelter.

Having a car suggests some level of income from having a job. It’s a sign of the desperation of the so-called ‘working poor,’ those who are employed on some level but yet not making enough to get by.

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BICN releases 150 Words About Basic Income report

In early September, Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) invited our supporters to answer the question, in about 150 words: ‘How might a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) affect your life and those of your loved ones?’ We pledged to collate the answers and to share them with the Prime Minister and other key members of the federal Cabinet, as well as the leaders of the two major Opposition parties.

We received a tremendous response to our invitation from people across Canada! And, today, we are pleased to share with you our new report, 150 Words About Basic Income. This report presents compelling justification for basic income as a means of dramatically improving economic security, physical and mental health, freedom, civic engagement, and more.

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Canada could abolish poverty with basic income

Huffington Post

Poverty, especially child poverty, is a huge black mark in my hometown of Surrey and in British Columbia and Canada at large. We know that poverty leads to poor health and social outcomes for children in later years. Poverty is essentially a waste of human resources. It ensures that a segment of the population will not be living up to their potential.

Thousands of people are forced to take low-wage jobs with no benefits or pension to pay the bills. They are unable to pursue their true passion in life, whether that is to go to school or start a new company or volunteer in the community.

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Free public discussion about basic income at Fleming College in Lindsay

Rob Rainer, OBIN.The Ontario Basic Income Network (OBIN) is hosting a free public discussion on basic income in early November at Fleming College’s Frost Campus in Lindsay.

The Nov. 3 event is a chance to explore how basic income might benefit the town, according to Chair of OBIN’s provisional steering committee, Rob Rainer.

“The public event is an opportunity to explore the various ways basic income could really help the people of Lindsay,” he says.

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Sign-ups for basic income in Lindsay begin this week

Roderick Benns

Enrollment in Ontario’s basic income pilot gets underway in Lindsay next week.

In-person enrollment sessions will begin Oct. 12-13 where people can complete applications to be part of the pilot.

Minister of Community and Social Services, Dr. Helena Jaczek, was in Lindsay this week touring and visited A Place Called Home, a 19-bed hostel for homeless single adults, couples and families with children.

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